Spain to hold symbolic Palestinian vote

Following UK and Sweden, Spain to join France in holding vote to recognize a Palestinian state.

News Agencies

Spain’s parliament plans to hold a largely symbolic vote next week on a resolution to recognize a Palestinian state.

The non-binding resolution, presented by the Socialist opposition party, will be debated in parliament on Tuesday, and it appears the governing conservatives will support it.

It would follow moves in other European countries intended to increase pressure for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Britain and Ireland approved similar motions last month. Sweden’s new left-leaning government went a step further and officially recognized a Palestinian state on Oct. 30, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm.

French lawmakers will vote on November 28 on a proposal by the Socialist Party urging the government to recognise Palestine as a state, a parliamentary source said Wednesday.

The non-binding but highly symbolic vote would follow a similar vote in the British parliament and after Sweden announced it formally recognised the state of Palestine.

A draft of the proposal states that the lower house National Assembly “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict”.

France will “obviously at a certain moment recognise the Palestinian state,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told AFP on Saturday.

“The question is when and how? Because this recognition must be useful for efforts to break the deadlock and contribute to a final resolution of the conflict,” added Fabius.

British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on October 13 in favour of a non-binding motion to “recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution”.

Sweden announced on October 30 it officially recognised the state of Palestinian, a move criticised by Israel and the United States.

The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased tensions between Arabs and Jews over Israel’s plans to build 200 housing units in east Jerusalem.

Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Sweden, fulfilling a promise made when the Social Democratic-led government took office earlier this month, believes the Palestinians have met the criteria under international law for such recognition.

“There is a territory, a people and government,” she told reporters in Stockholm, adding that Sweden was the 135th country in the world to recognize a Palestinian state.
It is the third Western European nation to do so, after Malta and Cyprus. Some Eastern European countries recognized a Palestinian state during the Cold War.

The Associated Press and AFP contriubted to this report

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